Confession: Lately I’ve become something of a skincare sniffer-dog. Snuffling around international beauty counters and obscure French pharmacies, chasing down dermatologists and beauty therapists in the street and sticking my nose into other women’s beauty cabinets (this is one of the reasons I started Beauticate - it offers me a season pass to some of the most glamorous beauty cupboards in the industry).
As with most of us, no matter how many products I own, there’s always room for one more. I am constantly editing and honing my routine as new products hit the market and I pick up new tips and tricks from our Beauticate subjects. Because I have a toddler I'm always looking for things that will save me time and make me look better (which is always important when you have Vegemite fingerprints on your blouse). I find myself justifying my latest acquisition to my husband with an earnest, “Yes, I know I have 17 serums but this one might be The Magical Miracle Worker that will Give Me Glow/Blitz My Blemishes/Nix My Lines/Change My Life!” Sound familiar? The good news is that it’s not a fruitless pursuit. Sometimes skincare does just that. Sometimes, just sometimes, it delivers what it promises. Below is what’s currently on rotation in my cabinet and I have to say, I’m pretty darn happy with the results. My skin is actually looking better than ever. Apart from the occasional freak kill-me-now pimple, it’s pretty even-toned and my freckles and pigment aren’t as obvious as they were. I put that down to a course of laser treatments (more on that later…) and these fabulous, wonderful products. Cherry pick as you see fit.
Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil. This stuff is seriously magic. It saves me at least two minutes a day. Instead of mucking around with eye makeup remover and pads and cream cleansers, I just massage this into dry skin and all over my eyes. I keep massaging for about twenty seconds letting it dissolve my mascara. I end up looking like a terrifying Panda with big black greasy rings around my eyes, but as soon as I splash my face with water, it all turns to milk and washes down the drain. Now you see it, now you don’t!
Bioderma Crealine. Another miracle makeup remover, this little baby is a mainstay in just about every makeup artist’s kit. It’s a cleansing water that takes everything off, you just wipe it on with a pad and is super gentle. I keep one of these by my makeup kit and use it if I’m heading off to take everything off and start again. It’s also good as an eye makeup remover when you have lash extensions (you can’t use oil or it dissolves the glue).
Mario Badescu Drying Lotion. This chalky pink liquid reminds me a bit of calamine lotion (in fact it does contain some calamine) and it’s the best thing for angry blemishes. It contains salicylic acid (a known acne enemy) and soothing ingredients to draws all the oil out of pimples and take redness out at the same time. I dip a cotton tip into the bi-phase lotion and then dab it onto any spots – it looks pretty silly as you can’t rub it in, but it’s worth it.
Chantecaille Healing Emulsion. When my skin packs it in after too much road-testing and I have redness or irritation, this is a gorgeous go-to that is also a joy to use. The light, yet moisture-packed lotion smells like a bouquet of jasmine and magnolia and soothes stressed-out skin. I think of it as herbal tea for my face.
SK-II Facial Treatment Mask. Another makeup artist favourite, this tissue mask is fantastic as a skin-plumper pre event when you want your skin to look all dewy and springy. I pop it on the night before a party or photo shoot and leave it on for at least ten minutes (I’ve been known to fall asleep with it on). It looks a bit freaky but it works.
MV Pure Jojoba Oil. I love oils and I often use them in place of moisturizer. This dreamy, silky oil is from one of Australia’s best facialists, Sharon McGlinchey (who does relaxing, spiritual facials out of her little room in the Harmony Pharmacy in Sydney’s Mosman). This oil is like rehab for your skin – jojoba molecules are smaller than most so they penetrate the skin really well and quench thirsty dermis. My husband uses it on his shaving rash, too.
Dr Spiller Rinazell Hydro Gel and Cream. I’ve been doing a course of Laser Genesis facials at Face Plus Medispa in Bondi Junction and this is the skincare they recommend post treatment. It’s a super hydrating and soothing duo so is perfect after any kind of laser or irritation. The gel is clear and sinks in instantly while the skin is thick and cosseting, like a big warm cardy for your face.
Rationale Immunologist. I’m a big fan of this range by Melbourne cosmetic chemist, Richard Parker. Parker came up with his “essential six” products that only contain ingredients proven to work by dermatologists – I use four of them that are best suited to my skin. This serum contains niacinamide, which boosts the skin’s immune system and protects against pigmentation and sun damage.
Rationale Photodynamic. This is a lovely hydrating daily moisturizer which gets switched on by daylight and helps your skin absorb vitamin D while protecting you from the sun. I use this in place of a full sunscreen if I’m going to be inside all day at my computer. If I’m at the beach or exercising I’ll use a proper physical sunscreen instead.
Rationale Catalyst. This tingle-inducing serum contains botanically-derived AHA’s and salycilic acid to unclog pores preventing breakouts and slough off tired skin cells giving insta-radiance and aiding absorption of ingredients that follow. I use this instead of a scrub every second or third evening.
Rationale DNA Reactivating Night Cream. Vitamin A or retinol is a super hero of the skincare world. Not only is it a super anti-ager, it also clears up spots and gives skin a luminosity. The only problem is it often causes irritation for people This contains a specially buffered retinaldehyde and retinol that is gentle yet effective along with ceramides and antioxidants. It smells pretty dreamy, too.
La Mer The Eye Concentrate. Okay so it’s totally indulgent but this really is the Bentley of Eye Creams. It’s so creamy and delicious and it just makes me feel really indulged when I use it. It has a little silver tipped massager that you use to massage it in which is cooling and soothing and it contains La Mer’s super duper anti-agers.
La Prairie Cellular Power Infusion. My other big indulgence is La Prairie. The Swiss skincare brand always has new innovations that I get obsessed with. This little beauty is like a boot camp for your skin in that you use a series of these little ampoules in place of your moisturizer and serum. It contains ingredients that boost skins cellular power, protects from damage and boost radiance. I started using it after a particularly stressful month when my skin was just blah. And I swear it’s made a difference. I also like the theatre of using it. You twist the base of the bottle and it releases a violet supercharged liquid into the serum and shake. This keeps the formula fresh and active for as many uses as it takes to finish (usually about six or more).